Tabloid Inquiries

Am frantically emailing the British Library and the Archives about getting access to the 1987 tabloids. So far our own Irish Archives have replied (fair play for the speediness) saying they only have Irish copies. This is a problem because there were no Irish tabloids in the ’80s. The British Library may be able to help me, but I am worried that it may require me to physically view the Archives. This would require me to physically go to London…

Lit. Review progress is painfully slow…

Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry9G5vT3sdE

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Lit. Review Progress

It would appear that I am procrastinating to the extreme with this. I have the headings of the sections I am to write about, but not one word done as yet. To further procrastinate, I’m off to the Archives in a moment to finish the Cork Examiner.  I will then have the 1987 broadsheets completed. I am supposed to have this Literary Review done by the end of June… which I can sneakily stretch to the first week of July but if I’m honest I can’t really see it happening right now.

Feh.

Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff9iTDCpvXo

Priming

The last thing under the “umbrella” of framing is priming. To be honest, I didn’t know much about this until my supervisor brought it up as a potential category to look up. It’s not wholly different from framing or agenda-setting.

The concept of priming is based on the assumption that people don’t carefully weigh all possible aspects of a situation or problem when making decisions. Rather, people employ mental shortcuts when making up their minds. Every memory is stored as a node, and every node is related to another node by semantic paths. Nodes that are strongly connected to each other form a mental schema, an interpretative framework or a belief system. When an external stimulus, for instance a news headline, activates a node in this network, the entire schema gets activated and will serve as shortcut for making a decision. The more prominent the issue is in the media, the greater is its accessibility in a person’s memory.

Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWj0HWSunbA

Framing

Having explained what agenda-setting is, framing comes next. Framing is very similar to agenda-setting, but it comes from different theoretical roots. Framing involves dividing news stories into separate categories (frames) and these can then be categorized in order of salience (importance). By analysing all seven Irish newspapers for the Budget weeks of 1987 and 2009, I can divide the stories frame by frame. From this information I can determine if an “agenda” was present or not.

Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUNui4OSyJA&feature=related

Agenda-Setting

Now is as good a time as any to explain what this term is. Since I am looking at how the Irish media reacted to the 1987 and 2009 Budgets in terms of framing, I’ll probably be using such terms throughout this blog, so a brief summary is in order. Agenda-setting and framing are very similar, and indeed, related theories. Of course I initially had confused them, and used the terms interchangeably but in reality, they are separate.

Agenda-setting came before framing did and has different roots. In short, agenda-setting is about how the media prioritize certain stories and screen out others. These stories are organised in terms of salience, which roughly means order of importance, but it goes beyond that. It has to be identifiable with the audience watching or reading the stories, as well as fitting the “agenda” of whoever is organising the stories. This also means that the editor or media “gatekeeper” is central to what is being broadcast. It’s not an easy theory to prove, because obviously, not being an editor, I don’t have access to this sort of information, and journalists and media communicators in general seem to find problems wit this theory. Of course it doesn’t apply to them! Regardless, there is a lot of academic information on this theory, and it is an interesting way or studying how the media works.

Song of the day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOh4B7zPx70